Step One To Creating A Personal Narrative
A freewrite unfolding.
Prompt: Writing exercise #1: Take five to 10 minutes to free-write a list of things you’ve noticed today or notice around you right now. Don’t edit or censor yourself or try to write sentences or make it pretty. Just list as many observations and details as you can.
I see city lights, a small city, blinking lights, the cars on the road, lights in motion. I see the silhouette of hills in the nighttime, dark, shapeless, suggestive of depth and a hint to what darkness can be. I see the window, large with sliding glass windowpanes, half open. I see the window bars on the outside, metal and white bars with curved adornment. There is a screen that separates between outside and in, the screen is tilted and composed of lattices with tiny holes too small to discern, an optical illusion.
Inside there is a radio, wooden and rectangular, a handsome radio. The wood is deep red brown. The top of the radio pops open to reveal a record player. There is a record inside now, I don’t remember which. It is from a band I didn’t recognize, one of the many records I found in the guest room. Now the radio is on and alternates between 80s US pop and the relaxed tenor of the Israeli radio host.
Inside there is light, light from the lamps and from the computer screen, bright and alluringly designed. Why do we keep things so light when outside it is calling for darkness? the eyes move between the nighttime shadows and the artificial light. The body wavers between the stimulation and the pull to sleep.
Now the radio plays a song, a new song by Billie Eilish, said the radio host. You couldn’t save me but you can’t let me go.
My body is tense, tense with the things it is holding, it can’t let go.
My forehead jaw neck shoulders contracted in their patterns of tension.
Tonight I read papers about alternatives to shunt surgery for cerebrospinal fluid buildup in the brain. I highlighted the main points and sent them as pdfs to my grandmother. She has a big decision to make, what should he do? They went to see the neurologist, many neurologists, many visits. He did many tests. There could be CSF buildup, the treatment is surgery, he is not young.
Tonight I feel time, dark and pressing, bright and restless. Indecisive.
(& that’s twenty five minutes)